I am arguing in this series of columns titled, "The Case for Judeo-Christian Values," that Judeo-Christian values -- as developed and expressed specifically, though not only, in America -- constitute the finest value system in the world. If you care about goodness, justice and compassion prevailing in an often evil, unjust and cruel world, you should hope that Judeo-Christian values predominate on earth.
Is such an attitude, that there is a best value system, arrogant -- or even chauvinistic or racist?
Let's first deal with the charge of "racism." It is difficult to overstate the absurdity of this charge. How can values that are universal -- i.e., for people of all races -- be racist? The charge is meaningless since people of all races affirm Judeo-Christian values. In fact, outside the United States, whites, being largely secular, are the race least likely to affirm these values.
What about "arrogant" or "chauvinistic"?
Though not as obviously so, these charges are equally meaningless.
If one does not deem one's value system superior to others (at least the others that one is aware of), it is not a value system. It is a series of personal habits that one happens to prefer. Moreover, it is very hard to find anyone who upon a moment's reflection really believes that his values are not superior.
Do those who believe in freedom believe that freedom is not a superior value to tyranny? Do those who believe in human equality believe that this value is not superior to the belief that one race is superior? Is the "honor killing" of daughters a value equal to that of allowing daughters to marry whomever they want? The list is almost endless.
The very implication of a "value" is that it is superior to any other. If you value monogamy, you are saying it is superior to polygamy. If you value tolerance, you are saying that tolerance is superior to intolerance.
All people are equal, but that does not mean that all values are equal. The statement, "All people are equal," is itself a value, one which holds that human equality is superior to any value that demeans or denies the intrinsic worth of other human beings.
But many of the best educated (and therefore least intellectually clear) will counter, why can't people hold that their values are superior only for themselves?